Penelope Fitzgerald

Penelope Fitzgerald was born Penelope Mary Knox on 17 December 1916 at the Old Bishop's Palace, Lincoln, the daughter of Edmund Knox, later editor of Punch, and Christina, née Hicks, daughter of Edward Hicks, Bishop of Lincoln, and one of the first women students at Oxford. She was a niece of the theologian and crime writer Ronald Knox, the cryptographer Dillwyn Knox, the Bible scholar Wilfred Knox, and the novelist and biographer Winifred Peck.
In the early 1950s she and her husband lived in Hampstead, London, where she had grown up, while they co-edited a magazine called World Review, in which J. D. Salinger's "For Esmé with Love and Squalor" was first published in the UK, as were writings of Bernard Malamud, Norman Mailer, and Alberto Moravia. Fitzgerald also contributed to the magazine, writing about literature, music and sculpture. Soon afterwards Desmond was disbarred for "forging signatures on cheques that he cashed at the pub." The end of his legal career led to a life of poverty for the Fitzgeralds. At times they were even homeless, living for four months in a homeless centre and for eleven years in subsidized public housing. To provide for her family during the 1960s, Fitzgerald taught at a drama school, Italia Conti Academy, and at Queen's Gate School, where her pupils included Camilla Shand (later Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall). She also taught "at a posh crammer", where her pupils included Anna Wintour, Edward St Aubyn, and Helena Bonham Carter. In fact, she continued to teach until she was 70 years old.[1] For a while she worked in a bookshop in Southwold, Suffolk, and in another period lived in Battersea on a houseboat that sank twice - the second time for good, destroying many of her books and family papers.


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